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The Difference Between a Funeral Director, Mortician, and Undertaker

You have probably heard people use the terms funeral director, mortician, and undertaker interchangeably. While these professions all have to do with the funeral industry, they are not all the same.

Here is the difference :

Funeral director

As the name suggests, a funeral director is someone that arranges, manages, and oversees a funeral or a memorial. Part of his job is to provide support to the family of the deceased by taking care of every aspect of the funeral from embalming and dressing the body, placing it in the casket or coffin, and taking care of other logistics such as filing for legal paperwork including death certificates, etc.

Today, “funeral director” is the most commonly used term in the funeral industry.


A mortician is meant to describe someone who is specifically in charge of handling the body and preparing it for the funeral. This means that a mortician is someone who embalms and beautifies a body before the funeral.

Years ago, a mortician was strictly in charge of taking care of the body. However, today, many funeral homes have a funeral director who takes care of logistics and takes care of preparing the body. This is why the terms “funeral director” and “mortician” are often used interchangeably.


You may think that the term “undertaker” comes from being in the business of laying the bodies of the dead six feet under the ground. But this actually has nothing to do with it. Rather, it simply refers to someone who undertakes the task of managing funerals.

This term was commonly used in around the 17th and 18th century, but is now replaced by "funeral director." Basically, “undertaker” was the term used for funeral directors years ago.


Thanks for reading,